US airline passenger complaints rise in first half of 2022

(The Hill) – US airline passenger complaints doubled in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT) REPORTS published this month.

Passengers filed nearly 16,000 complaints with the DOT against US airlines from January to June. That’s more than double the 6,827 complaints filed in the first half of 2021.

American Airlines recorded the most complaints in the first half of 2022, with 3,186 filed against the Fort Worth, Texas-based company in everything from flight problems, refunds, fares, refunds, luggage and access problems.

United Airlines recorded 2,391 complaints from January to June this year, while passengers filed 1,909 complaints against Spirit Airlines.

Ranked fourth is Frontier Airlines, at 1,750 filed complaints. In fifth place was Jetblue Airways, with 1,676 complaints filed.

Airlines have struggled to meet high consumer demand this year as travelers emerge from the peak wave of the pandemic on and off, leaving many flights canceled and delayed, to the public’s frustration.

The company blamed everything from pilot shortages to high fuel costs and extreme weather for mass cancellations and delayed flights.

Travel disruptions have vexed the Biden administration and congressional lawmakers, especially as thousands of flights were canceled over the holiday travel weekend, including for the Fourth of July and Juneteenth.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline executives in June and House Democrats introduced a bill this month that would forcing the company to give up cash refunds to passengers if the flight is canceled or significantly delayed.

The latest DOT Air Travel Consumer Report, filed by the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection, also breaks down the number of flight cancellations recorded in the first half of the year.

More than 106,000 flights were canceled from January to June. In the same period last year, more than 41,000 flights were cancelled.

Southwest Airlines canceled the most flights, with 16,321 of them being scrapped in the first half of 2022.

The Dallas, Texas-based company has come under scrutiny for canceled and delayed flights. Airlines have canceled up to 40 percent of their flights on peak travel days.

According to the DOT report, American Airlines canceled the second most, at 16,288 from January to June. Republic Airways cut 10,270 flights in the first half of 2022, ranking third.

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